Jeremy Eaton


I admit, Y2K has me a little freaked. Not because I'm afraid my computer is going to crash, or because I think the world is going to end, or because champagne apparently is endangered (though this last one does give me pause). But I am a bit concerned that the new millennium will come and go and I won't have collected all four M&M's Millennium Party Boxes.

See, M&M's are "the official candy of the new millennium" , and M&M/Mars has issued a limited series of "confetti-colored" chocolate candies in boxes decorated with the "M&M's Brand Character." So far I've only got Green , who's a sexy little number, but I mean to haunt my local supermarkets until I get my hands on Red , the party guy; Yellow , the serious one; and Blue , that little rascal.

I just hope I don't get sidetracked from my quest by that pesky critter Twinkie the Kid , who thinks his blue-and-silver "uniquely numbered special edition box" is so tempting it doesn't even need a clever slogan to sell it: "Millenniums come, millenniums go, but Twinkies will always be ... well, Twinkies." Catchy. My limited-edition package number, by the way, is 2009691. I'm having it placed under glass. No doubt the valuable cardboard boxes have less of a shelf life than the Twinkies themselves.

Then, just across the aisle from the indestructible Hostess snack cakes, the "official cereal of the millennium" beckons in the colors of royalty: purple and gold. The Once in a Lifetime Millenios essentially are Cheerios with little 2's added to the O's. You know, to make 2000's float around in your milk. As if we haven't already been sleeping, breathing, and eating the millennium for breakfast, lunch, and dinner since we first partied like it's 1999.

The best part about Once in a Lifetime Millenios , however, is that you can turn the box into your very own time capsule. No, really. All you have to do is fill in the blanks of the following phrase: "I, (name), of (address), have created a Millenios Time Capsule on (date) & filled it with extraordinary memories of special people, places and things that I look forward to rediscovering in (number) years." Once in a Lifetime Millenios provides suggestions, of course, about what to put in the time capsule (family videos, newspaper clippings, and whatnot) but I encourage you to get more creative. For instance, I'm going to preserve a bottle of Hurricane Irene floodwater from the streets of Sweetwater; a lock of Alex Penelas's hair, which I personally plan to barber; and a pinch of the dust that has yet to settle from the brouhaha over the Miami Circle.

But who needs to worry about the long-distance future when the year of the O is at hand? SpaghettiOs 2000 has done like Cheerios and added 2's to the O's. Franco-American is not relying on the fancy hologram silver label to sell the canned pasta, though. The company actually is giving away twenty instant prizes of 2000 dollars each. And the odds are only 1 in 900,000! Indigestion is a small price to pay.

Looks like the real party is happening in the Goldfish 2000 box, though. These cheddar-flavor fish are packaged in an orange-and-gold -- you got it -- limited-edition box covered with informational nuggets, such as the one that informs you that "Pepperidge Farm produces 2000 Goldfish in less than one-third of a second." How appetizing! Bet that keeps a lot of toddlers busy munching. And if it weren't enough that our snack crackers have been anthropomorphized with facial expressions (the damn things are smiling), they're wearing party hats and bow ties now. They look like sharks gone way genetically wrong.

Not all the millennium products are in metallics, thank Bud. The twelve-ounce limited-edition, longneck bottles of Budweiser feature a red-and-white label printed in script rather than the usual blocky lettering. Too bad the beer wasn't fancied up as well. This brew isn't likely to distract me from confetti-hue M&M's that turn your tongue the color of wet crepe paper.

But Greenwich Meridian 2000 just might. "Official California wine under license from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, the home of world time," Greenwich Meridian 2000 is going to give champagne a run for its bubbly. After all, as the slogan goes, "The year 2000 starts here," and hey, it's only $9.99 at Publix. Best of all, the wine comes in three varieties: merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay. Collect 'em all.

Still, as much as 2's in your serial may not be the spectacular event you once envisioned waking up to the first day of this new year, there do appear to be missed opportunities on the store shelves. Some products simply have missed the boat, oops, the cruise ship. I mean, shouldn't Raisin Bran , famous for its two scoops, have done something with 2000 scoops? I can just picture the commercial: Two thousand folks testifying to successfully treated constipation. And what about 2000 Flushes ? Does the "official toilet cleaner of the millennium" ring any potential advertising bells? C'mon, people, get with the program. This stuff is going to be worth something someday.


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